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tv   Book TV  CSPAN  April 15, 2013 1:00am-1:15am EDT

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including tither period how they have one act of kindness was a difference maker for them and we all have that power but the biggest thing we do would be a small act of kindness to someone else. the vulnerability and fragility of life is personal and it doesn't take that much effort to be there for the kids.
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>>host: you are watching booktv on c-span2 on location at american university talking with professors who are also authors and joining us now is professor richard cpac and his book "grave injustice" unearthing wrongful executions" professor stack who is troy davis? >> i hope he will become a milestone in the march toward the demise of the death penalty. i had a chance to talk with him and that many family members and i think he was truly a strong person i would call him like a buddha figure a man at peace with himself and who i believe was innocent and wrongfully executed and i dedicate the book to troy and his family to teach me about a fan courage. >>host: walk us through the case.
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>> 1989 troy is a teenager in savannah georgia and african-american and the murder takes place and the victim is not only the white but the off-duty police officer so you have that melodrama and he is in the wrong place at the wrong time but not the triggerman with all the evidence i can put together. his trial hinged online eyewitness identification seven of them recanted over his 20 years in prison. no saliva, and no blood or anything for dna dna, fingerprints or murder weapon. people who identified him said at the time of the crime they were investigating, they were
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coerced to sign confessions confessions, a couple could not even read. teenagers at the time, scared, they cooperated because they felt that they had to and troy was nailed. any time there is such a crime it is understandable the community is up in arms there is fear and anxiety so the pressure is on the police to nail somebody quick and is on the prosecutor to convict but we need to make sure we get it right and with trade who i think is the actual culprit in the crime talked out of court and he admitted and confessed to several people who testified he committed the crime but those were not taken as seriously as they should have been and the
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appellate george -- appellate judge say why did we believe you now? my question is how we take the life of a man based on seven liars. >>host: what happened to try davis when was he put to death? >> ironically he was executed on international peace day september 21st september 21st, 2011. i featured his sister in the back of the book, martina, of very courageous soul. sheikh move a mountain of public opinion in troy's savior -- their growth in the world would have not known about him without her herculean efforts and there was a drum beat that intensified over the last several years to save him and it culminated on the last day with a look like
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the supreme court would grant him another reprieve he had for execution dates in his lifetime. an engine and psychological torture involved there. but ultimately they said we will proceed full speed ahead and his execution hour was pushed back four hours and executed at 11:00. >>host: what is the status of the death penalty today? >> it is still viable on the books. the federal death penalty is not used very much. the action to repeal or maintain the death penalty is taking place at the state level. 17 states have repealed the death penalty. maryland is very close. next rica bill will be
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introduced to not only abolished the death penalty but to use the savings from what the state spends on maintaining a flawed death penalty system to invest that in programs to support the victim's loved ones. there is a big tie-in with the money we spend on a system that does not deter others or keep us any safer that costs a lot of money there is a link between that and the death penalty dividend put into helping the victims, and maybe more police protection going after criminals on the street. we already have the guys on death row in prison convicted of the crimes but life without parole is the sufficient enough. >>host: but with the money issue isn't it cheaper to
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put somebody on death row and execute rather than life? >> it is of misconception that is counter intuitive but the expense involved with not just the appeals but to get the original verdict correct has for trial preparation, a security of the defendant defendant, more expert witnesses, that is just at the trial level then continue with increased security at every state. this is the one issue the system really wants to get right so the appeals move on and on and when you compare the cost to keep somebody in prison for life forces executing them, the studies i have seen to have $2 million for a capital
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case to proceed with the execution and that is if it is imposed. oftentimes they sit on death row and then they are exonerated or not executed and we still have to pay the price to maintain the death penalty. >>host: how many have been exonerated? >> $0.1,411,976 when the u.s. supreme court removed before your moratorium. so the case in georgia and since that time when hundred 41 people were exonerated. >>host: or declared not guilty or exonerated? >> a lot of people think that means there is dna evidence but only 17 of those were based on dna many is erroneous eyewitness identification.
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another person stepping forward, for a variety of reasons but the irrefutable argument there are reasons for it and against it but the one that you cannot deny is as long as we have a death penalty we run the risk of executing the wrong person. >>host: professor stack are there any characteristics better similar to say this was wrong? >> there are a series of reasons for wrongful convictions. a half-dozen or so. the 74 mistaken eyewitness identifications with wrongful convictions not at the capital case level but all of them and other
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reasons of police corruption and prosecutorial overreaching and underlying racism and confident defense council and a variety of reasons that these categories fall into place and pretty much everyone falls into the five or six. >>host: as professor of communication why are you riding a book called grave injustice? >> i believe in using it for social change and my background is a public defender years ago and i saw the mistakes being made and it just seems communication is the vehicle to raise awareness and educate individuals to move public opinion that i consider is the more enlightened point* of view. >>host: to use any of your
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public defender cases? >> not that i worked on in the public defender's office but i do write about cases that i have a chance to study and talk to the lawyers and the individuals involved and family members, journalists, they don't come from my personal experience but the "in-depth" study. >> the change of dna technology is that beneficial? >> it can be. of fellow who writes a jacket blurb whose name is kirk he was the first person is generated from death row across the country 1993 based on dna.
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it came to him reading a mystery novel about dna being used to nail certain convicts he said if that can be used to convict people is not to be used to free people and he knew he was innocent and was not the guilty party for the crime of which he was convicted so he got a dna to prove he was not the perpetrator of that crime. >>host: what is the innocence project? >>guest: at the university law school in new york has come up with a variety of cases and techniques with leading it dna to support individuals who are in prison and appeal to the it
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organization to say i didn't do it. now you have to have a pretty thick skin because many people in prison offer the same claim but the staff go through cases pretty thoroughly and, but the ones they really feel this guy did not do it then they come to the rescue. >>host: how you feel about prosecutors? >> they have a tough job to do and we live in a system that is adversarial in nature. you have a prosecutor on the one hand and a defense attorney on the other and if they are both abiding by their ethical code they both do the best job that they can and somehow the truce is to be merged. our system has flaws still
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the ideal of the world so i hold no grudge but i do believe they do their best work and defense attorneys doing their best work develop hopefully the truth in the middle then you have the jury system trying to make sure everything is done fairly. >>host: is there times when a prosecutor has prosecuted the assembly thinks is innocent or one that they think is guilty? >> yes. sam mills up is a terrific prosecuting attorney in san antonio, texas. he has written about the case that he tried and prosecuted in texas and he has regretted

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